Department of Psychology
Master of Arts
The present researcher compared and contrasted the variability of practice hypothesis (variable practice) with the specificity of learning hypothesis (constant practice) for this study. The variability of practice hypothesis specified that a person's subsequent ability to complete a novel motor task will increase by altering conditions of practice (Schmidt, 1975). The specificity of learning hypothesis, however, asserted that repetition of the same movements will increase an individual's retention rate for the movement (Adams, 1971). The researcher operationalized this debate via basketball free throw shooting. Participants were assigned to either a constant practice condition, where shots were taken from the free throw line, or one of three variable conditions, where shots were taken from varying distances from the goal. Results from ANOVA and MANOVA analyses failed to support the hypothesis that participants in the variable conditions would perform better than the constant practice group during a retention test. The lack of effect differences between practice conditions, however, may have been due to the lack of proper training and lack of participant motivation. Therefore, further research on this topic is needed.
Snyder, Leslie, "The Effects of Constant and Variable Practice on Performing a Gross Motor Skill" (1998). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 322.